Angelo by Quentin Blake (Red Fox; €7.55) is a story of love, kindness and tight-rope acrobatics, set in a time when the world and its people moved at a gentler pace. Angelo is a small boy who travels around Italy with his parents and two older brothers, stopping at villages and towns to sing, play music and perform acrobatics on a tightrope. One day, as Angelo is high up on the tightrope, he comes face to face with an unhappy girl at a window. Her tearful account of being locked up by a cruel uncle touches the hearts of Angelo’s family. Can they help her? Blake’s unique sketchy style of drawing and watercolours, along with the happy-ever-after story make this a delightful tale for age five and upwards.
Spook School: Revenge of the Stink-Monster by Pete Johnson (Stripes; €6.30). When an invisible ghost strikes Oaktree Hotel, Spook School pupils Charlie and Lewis are assigned to send it packing. But this is not just any ghost — this fellow emits a dreadful stink. Can the two ghostlings overcome the smell and get things back to normal for the gentle owners whose guests are fleeing? A lively read for age seven and upwards.
Henry VIII by Harriet Castor (A&C Black; €7.55) tells the king’s story in a straightforward narrative that makes history accessible and interesting for readers aged 11-plus. From brave, educated and talented young man, Henry’s metamorphosis into a cruel despot drags his reign into one of greed, battles, fear and intrigue. With imagined, though authentic- sounding dialogue, this is a well-constructed account.